Friday, December 27, 2013

Speed Clowns

Driving Fast sure is fun. And you know what else? Driving Fast sure is dumb.

I've only been in one car accident in my life, but it was the life-changing kind. It was a few terrifying moments that I will never forget. First was the moment I saw the other car pulling out, Second was me slamming the breaks and sliding sideways into the grass, Third was hitting the power-line. There were a few more after that but I don't wanna get into it anymore.

I've driven like an idiot long enough. And I've been passenger to some idiot driving as well. I've learned the hard way, but I'm fortunate to have learned without loss of health, life or freedom. Thankfully.

Others haven't been lucky like me. I remember sitting in my hospital bed thinking about people who've died from the exact, same poor judgment. I made it a point right then & there to stop. To stop taking the risk. It's not so much getting older, but being smarter. And having more respect for life, the lives of other people and my own. Because that's what fast driving really is; Disrespect for human life.

I really should have killed the person in that other vehicle. And I really should have killed my two young passengers. But we were touched by God or something miraculous.

People die every day from reckless driving. You know they're out there on the road, you just hope you never run into them. The faster you go, the less control you have. The faster you go, the less time you & the other drivers have to react. And the faster you go, the more likely you are to kill someone else and yourself.

P.S. You never want to feel that feeling or smell that smell. The feeling of the wreck & the smell of the wreckage. Twisted metal, burning airbags and the realization you may have just killed someone. Just remember, no matter how good a driver you are, it's the other people on the road you have to worry about. If you're going fast you might be able to see them, but they won't see you. Until it's too late. Seriously, every MPH you go higher the closer to death you get.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

'Tis the Offseason

Snow petals, flutter to the ground
The December trees bare and brown
Little kids, all bundled up and warm
Run outside as icy sidewalks form
The Colors of the Season are white, green and red
Very close is a sleigh where footsteps will tread
A New Year in sight, optimism abounds
Bells chime in the night such beautiful sounds
Gifts wrapped real tight tucked under the tree
They've sat there for a month tormenting me
Love, hugs and kisses are the perfect lift
That everyone can give for a Christmas gift
So don't be afraid to nuzzle up close
To someone you love who needs it the most 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Street Gymnastics

Running and jumping from one rooftop to the next. Sprinting to the ledge of a 10 foot drop, then hitting the ground into a tuck-n-roll so you don't break your ankles. Scaling a wall with nothing but a single-foot leap, grasping the concrete ledge then pulling up to the base of your own Mt Everest. It all boils down to Body Control & Fear. Learn control and the fear will dissipate.

Parkour is the art of traversing your environment with maximum efficiency. To scale any and all obstacles of a given terrain using only your body.
The History of the discipline goes all the way back to World War I when French Naval Officer Georges Hébert witnessed the indigenous African tribesman and their strong, lean bodies which they had developed only through interacting with the jungle. Hébert began training his men to attack land obstacles using walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, balancing, throwing, lifting, self-defense and swimming. Obstacle Course Running is still done by most military regimens around the world for the sole purpose of endurance and body control.

Then their are those of us who do it strictly for fun. Free Running is Parkour for everyone. Where Parkour can be dangerous and extremely painful, Free Running is more practical. The disciplines are essentially the same but Free Running is more inclusive according to Sébastien Foucan, one of the original practicioners of Parkour. Basically, we the amateurs Free Run & the Pro's do Parkour.

The Best Parkour Artists in the world like Jerome Ben Aoues, John Hennigan, Daniel Ilabaca, Ryan Doyle, Tim Shief and Damien Walters have shared their artform through famous videos like Jump London & Choose Not to Fall. They've inspired thousands to get outside and find out what they're made of, or at least find out how much it hurts to fall. Make no mistake Parkour and Free Running are practices like the Martial Arts which require years of study and practice. But like anything else, proper training and discipline will allow almost anyone to master these artforms. That means falling and failing but getting back up and trying again. Over and over again.

It really is gymnastics on the street. Instead of using high bars and trampolines, traceurs & free runners use bannisters and buildings. They learn to fall gradually, that is to land on the ground on your tip-toes in a forward position tucking to roll onto one's hands then shoulders. The best technique and form will result in zero injury. But once again, Optimal Technique & Form can only be learned through years of practice.

Gyms are being built as we speak. Areas have been designed. Courses are under construction. The idea is not to discourage but encourage people to Free Run. Obstacle Running is great for the body and mind. Parkour, as taught by originators Raymond & David Belle, is meant to promote respect for people & the environment. Respect the elements, Natural & Man-Made. Anyone can learn these disciplines and appreciate what they stand for. The Idea is to be healthy in Mind, Body and Spirit.

You won't need a skateboard or a ball for this stuff. Only Balls. Metaphorically speaking of course:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963

The haunting footage of the JFK assassination. It serves as a reminder that our world is filled with evil. We must all do our part to quell it. And we must never forget our history. Learn from it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NBA ALL-TIME STARTING 5

PG: Lebron James
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Larry Bird
PF: Karl Malone
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


Michael Jordan and ESPN got everybody talking about their NBA ALL-TIME STARTING 5. Jordan went the loyal route and selected former teammates Scottie Pippen and James Worthy as his Forwards. He chose Magic Johnson to run the point and Hakeem Olajuwon as his big man in the middle.

The topic started a debate amongst every NBA fan as to which players would make up the best squad. Jordan is of course presumed on every team. 2nd most popular pick is Magic Johnson at Point Guard. I can't blame anyone for picking Magic. He won 5 Titles in 13 seasons and is widely reguarded as the best ever at his position. 3rd most popular pick is Larry Bird. You can't go wrong there. Bird's all-around game is right up there with Lebron James', and some would say even better. 4th most popular pick at the Power Forward position is Tim Duncan. 4 Championships, 1st Team All Defense 8 times and nearly 24k points, Duncan is another pick you really can't argue against, but I will. Finally, Hakeem Olajuwon rounded out the Five spot for the majority of teams. This one angers all the old-timers because they always say Wilt Chamberlain was the most unstoppable big man ever. Some even say Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Russell should be the Center. The Center position has the most room for deliberation. Young cats say Shaq cuz he dominated the position and won 4 Titles, finishing 5th all time in scoring. Kareem got second most votes for Centers. Jabbar is arguably the 2nd best basketball player ever, yet he doesn't get much respect when it comes to the Best Ever debate.

My Team is a Multi-Era Juggernaut. A mix of Dream Team, Old School and New. This team defeats any other squad hands down with Offense, Defense, Quickness, Power, Athletic Ability, Shooting, Unselfishness;), Ball Movement. You name it, this team does it.

At Point Guard I pick Lebron James. He's the Ultimate Hybrid. When all is said and done for Lebron, he will have over 35k points, 10k assists, nearly 10k rebounds and 3 to 5 Titles at the least. I pick him over Magic because Lebron defends better than Magic could ever dream and Lebron is a superb athlete, where Magic couldn't jump over a soda can.

At Shooting Guard I pick Michael Jordan. Whoa, Dude.

At Small Forward I pick Larry Bird. Bird was a superior shooter, but he could dish too. His all-around game rivals anyone and his disposition is comparable to Jordan. Bird was a killer just like MJ and all clutch.

At Power Forward I pick Karl Malone. This is where I break away from the pack. Most picked Duncan for his size, scoring and defense. I take Malone for his superior scoring, imposing physical will and all around talent. Malone beats Duncan in athletic and scoring ability. Duncan is the better defender, but on a team with an already stout defense Duncan's size & slowness will clog the lane and hinder movement. Malone's combination of power, size and speed make him unstoppable. Duncan is large but slow. Great in half court but exposed in a running game. And this team wants to get out on the break, not play Popovich-ball.

At Center I pick Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem is 1st all time in scoring, 4th in rebounds, 3rd in blocks and he won 6 Championships. Many picked Olajuwon for his defense and quickness. I take Kareem's greatness over Hakeem. The Skyhook. The Consistency. The Longevity. And the ability to run, run and run. Showtime. Kareem is a superior athlete, hence his 20 year career, 6 MVPs and 6 Titles.

Basketball is about one thing. Putting the ball in the basket. This team would do it better than any other.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MLB FAN

I think it's safe to say Football has surpassed Baseball as America's Favorite Pastime. The 20th century was the golden age of Baseball, but the 21st is fast, furious, in-your-face & all Football. Baseball is now a game of history, romance and little kids, where Football is gladiatorial, manly and must-see tv.

So what does this mean for a Baseball Lover like me? Absolutely Nothing!!! America's Original Pastime is still my Fav too.

I still love the game as I did as a child. The Mystique is still there. I still pick up a bat and feel like I could play for the Phils. Just a silly childhood dream my soul refuses to give up. I know I can't play Baseball at the highest level. But Baseball is a game of Guts & Will, and I'd compete with anyone on those alone.

Our Culture has adapted from newspapers and coke bottles to ipads and energy drinks. People want their game to resemble a battle rather than a ballet. Not to say Baseball is a game of dancers and tutus because it's nowhere close to that. But Baseball is a game which requires patience. In Baseball the excitement will happen, but you have to wait for it. Not have it spoon-fed to you on every play.

Winning the casual fan has become a tall task for Major League Baseball. The Internet & Social Media blend perfect with the NFL's instantly-gratifying fantasy football-esque style of Red Zone action and Twitter reaction. Baseball could borrow a similar approach by instituting a "Power-Hitter", "9th-Inning", or "Bases Loaded" channel which would cut to a game when the best hitters are up, the 9th inning begins or the bases are jacked. Or better yet all three.

We need to get Baseball back a little closer to the cutting-edge. To me the game is perfect the way it is, but I’m in the minority.  All the Instant-Replays in the world won’t attract any more people to Baseball. And all the Dugout Interviews during the game add nothing to the excitement factor.  We need more interaction, but it needs to be cool. How bout putting a camera inside the batter’s helmet?  We can watch them batting and running the bases when something cool happens!  And definitely a Catcher’s Cam, because after all, the catcher sees everything on the field and so should we.

If you want to grow the game and not be left on the sandlots you have to intrigue the youth. Don't reinvent the game. Just tweak it a bit.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He Ain't INCOGNITO Anymore

This story is a journalist's wet dream. You've got a racial element. It's the NFL. There's bullying involved. And when you put it all together, a locker room conflict between two football players may end up changing every present and future locker room atmosphere.

Football is a game of Alpha males. The biggest guys, the fastest guys, the strongest guys play football. From ages as young as five, little kids across America learn to strap on their pads, run out on green fields and just flat out hit each other.

People called baseball America's past-time for almost 100 years, but not anymore. We've realized what the game of football is and what it means to our culture. We are a country from a World perspective that has been deemed 'Bullies'. We use our Military Power and Diplomatic Strategy to manipulate every other country and people in the world. In Football, the same power and strategy is utilized on a ground level; Man to Man, Hand to Hand, Team vs Team. It's a game of violence and aggression with Coaches and Leaders acting like Generals and Commanders. It's WAR!!! How could Football not be America's Past Time?

It took a while for our people to figure it out but we got there eventually. And that's one of the great things about our culture and our people here in America. We make mistakes, but we rectify them.

The Incognito vs Martin locker room incident is laughable on one level, then shameful on a few others. It's laughable in that a 300lb man would quit his professional team, run back to his parent's house and basically act the way an elementary school child should. It's shameful in that two grown men couldn't handle their business face to face. Shameful in that this conflict will probably result in lawsuits that will force the NFL to enact legislation to, in essence, weaken the tough-guy mentality and promote a game & culture of Mothers & Sons.

The mirror is once again held up to our faces. A stupid game of balls and men has shown us that conflict resolution does not need a judge or jury. When someone wrongs you or disrespects you, stand up to them. Push Back. Give them exactly what they gave you. It doesn't mean you have to be reckless or violent. It means you need to communicate with people to resolve issues. And sometimes a fist is a great tool to get your point across.

And maybe a little more diplomacy is what America needs. The George W Bush way of "Bring it On," has succumed to the Obama way of Diplomatic Communication or "Let's talk. Then we'll fuck you up."

I'm sure Richie Incognito is not the monster he's being portrayed to be. And I'm pretty sure Jonathan Martin is not as much of a sissy as it appears. These guys need to get in a room together, shake hands and get back to playing football. Forget all this bullshit 'News' nonsense. Problem Solved.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dez Bryant Blow-Up Warranted & Completely Just?

At first glance Dez Bryant losing his temper on the sideline in Detroit is just another case of a prima donna wide receiver crying because he isn't getting the ball enough. Not to mention the fact that Dez talked smack before the game saying he was just as good as Calvin Johnson, which is not true. Fact was, Bryant got exactly what he had coming to him and that was a reality check. Dez Bryant is very similar to Randy Moss in that their talents & sound bytes speak louder than their actual play on the field. Now we all know when Randy Moss came into the League, he tore it up like no one ever had. For those first 6 years of Moss' career, he was on pace to re-write the records. But then he got hurt and then he got traded. The second Randy Moss had to endure some adversity he shrunk and crumbled into a pistachio shell of his old self. And not because his talent waned, but because his desire was gone.

But enough about Randy. Dez Bryant is 3 and-a-half seasons into a very promising pro career. He has yet to live up to the hype, but with one season of 1380 yards and 92 catches, he has shown superior ability. Now he just has to sustain it.

The Detroit Lions won the game in the final seconds of the contest against Dallas. The Cowboys led most of the game, but once again as they seem to always do, they found a way to lose in the end.

And of course, all everyone could talk about after the game was Dez Byrant's sideline antics. He was bitching and complaining throughout the game even though his team was winning. He caught 3 passes, two of them for TDs, his team was winning but that was still not good enough for Dezzie. While MEGATRON was setting new records for the Modern NFL Era, Dez was once again playing back seat to his other receiver teammates. So he blew up. Not because he's a team-player. Not because he's passionate. Not because he's doing it for the betterment of the team. Dez Bryant blew up because he got UP-staged. Calvin Johnson proved not only that he's better than Bryant, but that Bryant isn't even close to MEGATRON's Level. That is why Dez Bryant got mad. That is why he lost his head and threw a temper-tantrum like a 7 year old.

There is a silver lining however. Dez Bryant was right about one thing. When he called for the ball before the snap on that one play, he knew he was being single covered on the outside. Tony Romo saw Dez call for the ball, but instead of throwing into single coverage, Romo decided to throw on the other side of the field into Triple Coverage. Brilliant!!! Dez Bryant gets a complete pass (pun intended) on that one. Romo definitely should have thrown him the ball on that play, so Dez had every right to get pissed off at Romo for that play. Everyone knows Tony Romo's favorite target is his BFF Jason Witten. Romo always looks to get Witten the ball. All his receivers are well aware of this fact so maybe it was about time one of them made it apparent they are not happy about it.

Another positive from Dez' outburst is the light being shone upon The Cowboys lack of success & lack of leadership (this one is pointed directly at you Jason Garrett). Dallas has continued to underachieve since Romo bobbled the snap against Seattle in 2007. They reached the playoffs in 2009 and got their lone victory under Tony Romo's quarterbacking against the Eagles, but that was the only time 'The Boys' have gotten close to reaching some semblance of a successful season. Ever since, mediocrity has been the word. Bottom Line: It's time to fire Jason Garrett. He's a coordinator, not a head coach.

Monday, October 21, 2013

HOW TO GET WARMED UP

There is a misconception when it comes to "getting loose" before starting a workout. For years we've been under the impression that Stretching was the most efficient way to Warm Up & Prevent Injury before exercising. WRONG. Recently I spoke to a female gymnast who told me she does extensive
stretching before every workout. I asked her if she trains in the weight room at all and she said "Yes." She told me she does the same stretching routine even before lifting weights. INCORRECT


I myself used to do the same stretching regimen I learned back when I played high school baseball before working out. WRONG!!! STRETCHING BEFORE WEIGHT TRAINING IS ACTUALLY MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE INJURY TO YOUR JOINTS, TENDONS AND MUSCLES. Even in the Gymnast's case, when she stretches before doing Gymnastic Routines, she believes she is preparing her muscles, joints and tendons to be extended and stretched even further and more violently. STILL INCORRECT

STRETCHING CREATES MICROSCOPIC TEARS IN YOUR MUSCLES, THEREBY PREVENTING MAXIMUM OUTPUT AND WEAKENING YOUR MUSCLES, MAKING YOU MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO INJURY.

The Best Method for Warming Up is simple. Get on the tread mill for 2 minutes. Start off slow for the first minute, then begin to jog and run for the second minute. THIS WILL GET YOUR BLOOD CIRCULATING, WHICH IS THE EXACT REASON FOR WARMING UP. Warming Up is nothing more than getting your blood flowing quicker throughout your body. The Blood in your Body acts the way Oil does for a Car Engine, keeping everything lubricated and moving smoothly.

So the next time you see a football or baseball player stretching before a game, SHOUT AT THEM! Tell them to stop stretching and to just run across the field to get Warmed Up. There is 1 exception to this Rule. MILD STRETCHING. If you experience "TIGHTNESS" in your joints and muscles, mild stretching can improve blood circulation to that specific area. It's when people stretch their muscles as far as they can injuries occur. STRETCHING SHOULD BE DONE AFTER OR POST WORKOUT. If you want to WARM UP, do something that will make you break a sweat like an abdominal exercise or running in place or jumping jacks or shadow boxing or jumping rope. Something rigorous but not too straining. THINK ABOUT IT. IF YOU'RE TEARING YOUR MUSCLES PRIOR TO THE GAME OR BEFORE WORKING OUT, HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO PERFORM AT YOUR BEST & GET OPTIMAL RESULTS?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

"A Jose Canseco Bat.... Tell me, you didn't pay money for this?"

Not many baseball players had as much fun and caused as much raucous as Jose Canseco did in the 80s and 90s. Before becoming a 'writer,' Jose was the first player ever to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season(Canseco, Arod, Bonds, Soriano). The feat won him the 1988 MLB MVP Award and made him an instant Baseball Hero. Canseco started popping up at movie premieres and celebrity gatherings. He also popped Madonna but then again she pretty much banged every famous guy in the 80s. Jose Canseco transcended baseball turning himself into more of a Pop Star than a slugger. He sought fame and achieved it with his hulking physique and slick smile. You can hate him for being a tattling ego-maniac, but you have to respect Jose Canseco for his outgoing personality and willingness to stand alone.

Before Game of Shadows blew the whistle on Barry Bonds & BALCO, Jose Canseco outed the greats of the Steroid Era like a child without a conscience.
In his 2005 book JUICED, Canseco barked about his knowledge of players like McGwire, Pudge, Giambi, Gonzales and Palmeiro. At the time people snarked at the book calling it another laughable publicity stunt and pathetic attempt for Jose to gain accord with Major League Baseball(he hoped to make the HOF someday). Well shame on all of us. Jose Canseco was right. Canseco was also the first to point the proverbial finger at Alex Rodriguez in 2007 before A-Rod came clean to Katie Couric. Nobody wanted to believe Canseco, especially about Rodriguez. Right Again Jose.


People tend to laugh at the thought of a physically gifted man foraying into intellectual discourse. In Canseco's case it's appropriate. But there are people out there with massive muscles & high IQs so don't be quick to dismiss them. I digress.

If a caricature were evermore be-fitting of an athlete it couldn't possibly be so. Jose Canseco still deserves some respect though. He never denied his use of PEDs. In fact he wore it like a badge of honor. Yes Canseco was arrogant and stupid, but deep down he was an honest fool(and an opportunist:). He never mistook his baseball greatness as pure skill. He wasn't delusional when it came to understanding exactly what Performance Enhancing Drugs allowed him to achieve, where his peers found comfort in believing their numbers to be real. Canseco is no pied piper, but he's more credible and more honest than most of his PED contemporaries. & Credit Canseco for getting the ball rolling for MLB's institution of steroid testing policies.

Monday, September 23, 2013

GRAND THEFT QUARTERBACK

Here's the scenario. You're a 20-year-old guy in college. You come from a wealthy family and you've been raised to be an 'All American Boy.' You enjoy the lifestyle. Major Sporting Events are on your calendar. You regularly attend parties. You can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want to. As long as you do your school work and don't get caught breaking the laws too many times, you're golden. This is your life and you are Johnny Manziel.

I left out the part about being the QB for Texas A&M University only because that is what everyone knows Johnny Football for. What a great knickname too.
"Johnny Football." And he earned it. Manziel won the Heisman Trophy his freshman year, passing for over 3000 yds and rushing for over 1000 yds. He led A&M to victory over the eventual National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, and to a Cotton Bowl Classic victory over Oklahoma, finishing with a 11-2 record and a #5 AP ranking. Not bad for a freshman.


Johnny Manziel is the golden child. He has the World at his feet. He plays football great and football is what Americans love most. And boy does he enjoy the spotlight. And why shouldn't he? This is America. We're all born and raised to believe that one day we can be rich & famous. Johnny Football is just living the dream we all wish we could mirror. Give him the credit he deserves. He's not hurting anyone. He's going to school and playing football. He could be doing many things much worse than being cocky and drinking some alcohol.

Manziel is much more relevant than your 'typical' Heisman-winning college QB. TIME Magazine sure thought so when they put him on the cover of their September 2013 issue. Manziel was recently discovered signing autographs for several Ebay vendors, who claimed they paid him. Normally this type of activity would get you ruled ineligible by the NCAA. However, Manziel coming from a wealthy background was able to Lawyer-Up and got the charge dismissed. Afterall, why would the NCAA go after a player that in the next year or so is going to make them and his school upwards of 500 million dollars? TIME found this same issue relevant and decided to make Johnny Football the poster boy for their issue on Paying College Athletes.

So back to the scenario. You're a 2012 Heisman winner. You're probably going to win it again this year. You're a symbolic and cultural figure already at the age of twenty. You're going to play in the NFL very soon as long as you don't kill someone drinking and driving or rip up your knee. Now who would let a few traits like that go to their head?

Johnny Manziel is the All American Boy. He's doing what every guy wishes he could do. He's the Big Man on campus and the campus is the World, not just A&M. He's relevant for being Arrogant. He's relevant for making money when he's not allowed to. He's relevant for winning. He's relevant for laughing at the rules. He's relevant for playing Football. He's relevant for being a Quarterback. That's why he holds up his hands and rubs his thumbs to his fingers cuz Johnny Manziel is straight cash homey. He knows it. You know it. And everyone knows it. His Critics say he's selfish, too small and a spoiled prima donna. Well until he goes Pro and a Defense proves it, the negative critiques don't matter. Johnny Football is Money in the Vault because the Bank Ain't Big Enough.

Friday, September 20, 2013

HACKERS


Strap on your Rollerblades Dude!!!!!! It's 1995, the Internet is born, modems operate at 28.8 kilobits per second and the World is only 5.5 billion strong. Ah,
memories of a simpler time. NOT!!!! Oh yeah and that was still fresh.

HACKERS is a trippy time capsule look at the world 20 years ago(but more like a Hundred in iphone years) when recycling was cool, Saddam Hussein still sucked
and Angelina Jolie was in her sexual prime. The Kids were wearing baggy clothes, listening to gangsta rap & techno and Windows 95 was introducing us to easy computing and Internet exploring(Walkman's were still around too). Netscape!


Ok so all that stuff was in the background, but right up front in your 3 1/2 inch floppy drive was an uber-clever script with extravagant visuals & burgeoning characters still popping pimples on their pretty faces. HACKERS captures the essence of the IT Sub Culture of the 20th century. Say What??? The physical World has already been conquered. The Digital World is still vast and untapped so these hackers sail through cyberspace to discover places unfound. The Rules and Laws aren't even written yet, so hackers will do as they see fit to thrive. Afterall, "Hacking is more than just a crime. It's a survival trait."
 
In the film, the hackers come to find there are some obstacles they must learn to circumvent in order to stop a greed-hungry one of their own, whom found his way into a government systems security job. Hackers need 9 to 5s too, so this hired gun chose to utilize his talents to advise the Powers he used to evade. A hacker engages in reconnaissance & espionage all the time to gain intel. The "Hacker Manifesto," written by The Mentor aka Lloyd Blankenship is quoted several times, stating the noble purpose behind hacking. Check it out http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/manifesto.html

Ok so the technology is severely outdated. But like any great film the story, characters, music, plot, visuals and the principles are timeless. Information is Power, and that is what every hacker seeks. Actually that is what every human seeks. Life, Liberty, the pursuit of Happiness & Information:) Mess with the Best, Die like the Rest!!! HACKERS is a Cool-Ass-Flick.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Remember The Replacement Refs?

Last year we met some referees from the Lingerie Football League, CFL and various Farm Show Leagues from across the country. They call a great game by the way;) They were a temporary fix for the NFL Referee lockout, which lasted from June 2012 through Week 3 of the regular season. The "Fail Mary" was the play that convinced NFL owners to give in to the demands of the Ref's Union. Coupled with the sloppy officiating and embarrassing calls, the infamous blunder took place on Monday Night Football in front of a national audience, creating such a fuss the NFL was forced to end the public relations nightmare. Seriously, a 9-billion dollar a year business doesn't want to pay a little more for retirement benefits and salaries for the best Referees? Well only after they were humiliated on national television, making a mockery of their precious NFL shield. Anyway it was all pretty entertaining and inspired me to Welcome Back a few of the good, old Zebras.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dedicated to my school, Steelton-Highspire

Today Friday, September 13, 2013 there was a shooting at 250 Reynders St at the Steelton-Highspire High School in Steelton, Pennsylvania. 9 people, including six students and three teachers were gunned down by an as of yet unidentified, current student of the school. Law Enforcement and School Administrators have secured the crime scene and closed the institution until further notice.

This is what the first paragraph of a School Shooting report looks like. It gives the time, location, amount of people killed, instructions as to a future date and a
brief description of the perpetrator of the crime. We've all seen this kind of report by now. The majority of us have only seen it on TV or read about it in the news, but some have witnessed and experienced a real life shooting before. By writing this, I am hoping to prevent another one from happening in the future. I am hoping to touch as many people as possible with these words.


Nobody wants to be apart of another Columbine shooting. No parent wants to hear a report on the radio or get a sudden phone call about an incident at their
child's school. And no child ever wants their school to become a war zone, where the Library, Cafeteria and Auditorium become bunkers for cover rather than safe havens for learning and positive congregating.

 
I've asked myself, "What can be done?" What can we do to prevent people from continuing this awful trend? Since when did Schools become the place to bring
violence? I remember when I was in school, a fight between two students was the worst thing that could happen or if one of my friends or someone I knew got
in big trouble they got suspended. Now kids have to worry about being shot by a fellow classmate!? I named this post 'School Shooting at Steelton-Highspire,'
because that is where I attended high school. And that is where I hope to never hear about a school shooting or a violent incident, in the news.


I want as many people as possible to read this and think about what if it would ever happen at my school? What if I was shot in school? What if I was the one
doing the shooting? What would happen? People would die. Families would be destroyed. Students, Children and Teachers would be killed and witness death. The place where I met friends, learned algebra, had my first kiss, my first dance, my Prom and the place where I built the foundation for my future would become a burial ground and the place that the worst moment of my life occurred.


The Answer to this Riddle is simple; Communicate. Students need to learn about each other. Administrators & Teachers need to know their students, not just as
educators but as surrogate parents. Classes need to be geared towards not just the fundamentals of learning, but also the human side of who we are. Have your
class write a paper about "A Great Day I had this Summer." Or create an assignment that requires students to learn something about each other. Have a Journal Day where the students write an entry and then everyone trades Journals so each student can read what another student wrote. Or even better, how about a project on the school grounds where the students and teachers build something together to commemorate & celebrate their time together, like the Steel-High Class of 1996 did with Project O.S.C.A.R. or Outdoor School and Community Activity for the Rollers:)


We can't all just be faces in the crowd. We have to be human beings with families and stories. We have to communicate with each other and let one another know that it's going to be okay. We Are All In This Together.....

Saturday, August 31, 2013

JOHNNY LAW

Sometimes it's fun to break the rules. Push the pedal to the floor and let the adrenalin take over your body. Then Johnny Law sticks his face where it don't belong. The Red & Blues flash in your rear view and you get a couple seconds to decide what to do. Pull over or Floor it? I might be a little crazy but I'm not stupid. Of course I pull over.

Always behaving & obeying the rules can get pretty drab after a while. It's natural behaviour to test the limits to see what one can get away with. As a child, me and a friend of mine were little pyros. We'd always steal matches from cabinets in the houses, then go outside, look for a quiet place and light one. Nothing major or anything that could be considered arson, but mischievous all the same.

Athletes in any sport from an early age are taught sportsmanship, but as they get older and mature into young adults the rules stretch progressively. As a 13 year old in teener ball, I can remember being encouraged by my coach to dirty-up the baseball when I pitched. "This way the ball will not carry as far or get hit as hard," he told me. When I played high school ball, I no longer needed a coach to tell me to break or stretch the rules. Whether it was pine tar on my black alluminum bat or pitching with some sandpaper inside my glove, all the tricks had been taught and learned.

 It seems in America we are encouraged to test boundaries. Nearly everyone gets a second chance right? We are the country of second chances. Doing wrong is practically a right of passage in our culture. Americans may be more human than any other culture or country. We grow up in a cauldron of psychological fire and grow into a single piece of steel. We're not all forged the same, but we endure similar experiences and say hi to each other along the way. Maybe even throw a ball around with each other. Though we make mistakes, eventually we learn to be fair and balanced. And aggressive and a little arrogant, and confident and loud but always willing to help. Johnny Law is also always willing to help so I've learned to respect him. But don't get too comfortable Johnny Law because I do appreciate my freedom to get away with a little mischief:) America The Beautiful

Side Note: I could not find who captured this photograph so I could give them credit. This is one of the Best images ever taken in Sports and one of my favorites. Dennis Rodman is shown at his very best going all out to retain possession of the basketball. One of the greatest rebounders ever and an American original; flawed and brilliant, The Worm.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

100% FOR JUNIOR


1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr Rookie Card. This was the hottest card in the hobby for about 10 years till the steroid boys started making all that faux noise. 

Jr's induction into Cooperstown will be in 2016. The Baseball Writers Association of America, the ones who vote players into the Hall, have never given any player a 100% vote. That means Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, etc... None of them were chosen unanimously. Of all the greats, Tom Seaver got the highest percentage of votes 425 of 430, 98.84%. The Kid has a chance to top him. Griffey receiving 100% of the vote would be a perfect message to the Steroid Era players. But more important than that, a unanimous vote for Jr would send a message to the youth of the World that playing the game great, the right way is possible. Spread the word, 100% for Ken Griffey Jr (#100forJR).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classic Penny



2 Rookies in 2 Pics. The 1993 Classic #2 Rookie Card & the Nike Zoom Rookie. The shoe and the card are product of Penny
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Come See The Show"

Pete Maravich was a god of the basketball court. 10 years in the NBA before his career was cut short due to injury, he averaged 24 points and 5 assists. Those
who witnessed his games came away with stories of moves, shots and passes no one had ever seen before. Maravich's style and ball handling skill was completely original and his scoring was unstoppable. The 3 point shot hadn't been instituted in the NBA during Pistol's career, otherwise his average would have been over 30 per game. No Lie.


In College at LSU, Maravich set NCAA Division 1 scoring records across the board in only 3 years. Basketball games with Maravich became more like Mardi Gras gatherings. As a freshman on the freshman team, fans packed the courts to watch Maravich dazzle and score 44 per game. The LSU Varsity team would come to the court only to see the thousands of fans clearing the arena, for 'the show' had already left the building.

Players like Julius Erving and Isaiah Thomas speak of "Pistol" as this guy who had a way & a game all his own. His shot so accurate and crisp. His passes so quick and on target. His teammates always said if you weren't paying attention, Pete would hit you in the face with the ball because he'd deliver a pass whenever & wherever you'd least expect it. Maravich's dexterity with the basketball made him a pleasure for all fans to watch, but even his peers couldn't help but marvel at the game he possessed.

One of the 50 Greatest NBA Players Ever, "Maravich lived 100 years in a 40 year span" as Dr. J put it. He inspired a generation of basketball players like Magic
Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, ushering the NBA from obscurity to mainstream. Pete died of heart failure at the age of 40 due to a congenital heart
defect. His legacy lives on through his family & friends and the droves of people he touched with his game.


#123 1970-71 Topps Basketball Rookie Card measures 4 & 11/16 x 2 & 1/2
Click the Link for another cool shot of Pistol Pete.
Got the nickname "Pistol" from a writer that saw him play
as a child. Said he drew the ball from his hip like a gunfighter.
 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

THUNDERCATS

 
Saturday Morning Cartoons were never the same when the ThunderCats debuted in 1985. G.I. Joe had the kids transfixed with their Guns N Ammo, but
THE THUNDERCATS brought the action to a mystical world of forestry & mutant-like characters with all the action of a James Cameron film, like Aliens.  This ain't no cat & mouse runaround, flip-book animation, Pikachu-suckin baby cartoon.  This is a mix of Japanese Anime, Good vs Evil, humor vs horror plotline with a group of World-Saving Cats that'll captain-planet your ass with Tanks, Swords & Nunchucks.  And a Theme Song laced with enough Adrenalin to make you wanna to drop kick every piece of furniture in your house (if the intro doesn't make your nipples hard, check your pulse)..... 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The N - Word

In America, the n-word is probably the most controversial, offensive and historically powerful word in our entire language. Slavery and the overall mistreatment of people of African descent and black skin color, make the use of the n-word offensive & physically discomforting for most people to this present day. From a World & Historic context, America's abuse of Black People is our Worst Failure as a culture and a society.

The definition of the word has changed and evolved throughout history, but its origins are of an offensive nature, initially describing slaves negatively in the 1600s. The word has always served to demean & belittle black people as less than human. As our culture has evolved with sacrifice, revolution, education and evolution, we as the human race have learned that we are all the same with only subtle, minute differences e.g. language, culture, ethnicity, skin color, etc... Main Point being no race is superior or inferior, we are only human (flawed, but hopefully always learning & improving).

Today, the n-word does not carry the power it once did in the mid 20th century, but it remains a devisive term. Black people have claimed & redefined the word
by replacing the -er suffix with an -a. 'Nigga' serves as a positive term of endearment when a fellow black person refers or calls another person by the word. As a cultural norm, the n-word in either persuasion is not meant for white people to use. Universally, black people feel since they've endured the abuse from the word, and from our culture as a whole, they have the exclusive right to use the n-word as they see fit.  It's really not difficult to understand when you examine the history.


Some people won't say the n-word at all. Some people prefer the word with an 'a' on the end. Some people say it only in private. And others say it freely because they choose to diminish it's power. Personally, I choose to not say the n-word. But then again I don't believe using the n-word necessarily makes you racist. As a white person I choose to not say it because it's an ugly word with an ugly history. I completely understand and appreciate black people claiming the word as a positive. It's a matter of change and a symbol of power. No longer will black people be put down by the n-word, for we as the human race should be above it all.

Though it's power is diminished, the n-word can still incite harsh feelings & reactions. Riley Cooper of the NFL was recorded on a cell phone using the n-word referring to a security guard he apparently had a confrontation with. Cooper, unaware he was being recorded, made the derogatory comment toward a black person whom was not in the vicinity. He felt safe to use the word being only in the company of white people. The Philadelphia media obtained the video footage and ran with the story, as Philadelphia is a city rich with diversity.

If we can learn from the incident, the social use of the n-word amongst white people is no longer a safe circumstance. Most people, regardless of race, take
offense to the public usage of the n-word. People will continue to use the word regardless of race, but they must understand the history and the consequences of uttering the n-word. Hopefully, Riley Cooper will learn from his mistake. And hopefully additional dialogues will begin amongst all people to examine & discuss our differences and our similarities as people. We can all learn from each other and improve as a result.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Michelle Jenneke



 

She's an Australian Olympic Hurdler with enough ENTHUSIASM to power-up the Superdome. A Gold Medal may be in her future, but if not she can always be on Broadway or be a Cheer Leader, maybe a Model. What ever she does, it won't be lack luster:)))))))))))))))) Video produced by thechive.com & the song is Sabrina - boys. Click the Link for the actual race where Michelle got famous quick. Is she going to win?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

42 Reasons Jackie Robinson is A Legend

http://uvmemory.blogspot.com/2012/12/thank-you-jackie.html
1-He was the first black Major League Baseball Player in the modern era (1880 - ).
2-Before playing professional ball, Jackie was Athletic Director at Sam Huston College.
3-Robinson served in the US Military.
4-He married Rachel Isum and had 3 kids.
5-April 15 is Jackie Robinson day in MLB & many players commemorate this day by wearing #42 jerseys.
6-Jackie was a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement.
7-He was the 1947 MLB Rookie of the Year.
8-Won MLB Most Valuable Player Award in 1949.
9-In 1955, Robinson helped deliver a World Series Title for his Brooklyn Dodgers.
10-Jackie was a 6-Time All-Star in MLB.
11-Finished his career with a .311 Lifetime Batting Average.
12-In High School Jackie lettered in Football, Basketball, Track and of course Baseball.
13-In College @ UCLA Robinson repeated that same feat, becoming the first in school history to letter in 4 Sports.
14-At UCLA Jackie won an NCAA Championship for Long Jumping 24 ft, 10 and a quarter inches!!!
15-After College Robinson played Semi Pro Football in Honolulu & Los Angeles.
16-When Jackie was drafted into the U.S. military in 1942, he decided to become an Officer.
17-Robinson endured racial bigotry & discrimination throughout his military and baseball careers.
18-He coached the Basketball Team at Sam Huston College when he was only 25 years old.
19-The Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues recruited Jackie to play Baseball.
20-Jackie played one season with the Monarchs making the Negro League All-Star Team.
21-Branch Rickey wanted Jackie Robinson to be the man to break the MLB color barrier.
22-In 1946 Jackie won the baseball International League's MVP Award.
23-Robinson hit .342 in 1949.
24-Jackie Robinson was the highest paid Brooklyn Dodger in 1950.
25-Robinson played most of his baseball career at 2nd Base, but his versatility allowed him to play over 333 games at other positions.
26-After his baseball career, Robinson became the first black person to broadcast on ABC's Major League Baseball's Game of the Week.
27-His Lifetime On-Base Percentage is .409.
28-Martin Luther King Jr. called Jackie, "A Legend and A Symbol in his own time."
29-Robinson sold the rights of his retirement story to the hugely popular Look Magazine, two years before the end of his career.
30-A Shrewd Businessman, Robinson attained an Executive position with Chock Full O'Nuts after retiring from baseball.
31-Jackie continued to speak out against segregation and racial discrimination during & after his baseball career.
32-Jackie was encouraged by other MLB players including Hank Greenberg, Larry Doby and Brooklyn teammate PeeWee Reese.
33-Jackie Robinson was not the best ballplayer in the Negro Leagues, but his character was the reason Rickey chose him.
34-During WWII, Jackie became friends with Heavy Weight Boxing Champion Joe Louis.
35-In 1941, Jackie accepted a government position for the National Youth Administration as Assistant Athletic Director at the age of 22!!!
36-Very few people realize, in College, Baseball was Robinson's worst sport.
37-Robinson could have played in the NFL, but he chose Baseball.
38-Jackie Robinson is a First-Ballot Hall of Famer.
39-Robinson played in 6 World Series' in 10 seasons with the Dodgers.
40-He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom & Congressional Gold Medal.
41-Jackie starred in several films about his life.
42-The latest film about Jackie Robinson "42" will be a Best Picture Nominee.

The History of Jackie Robinson is written, but his Legend continues to grow. The more we learn, the more we recognize & appreciate Jackie's heart, mind and soul. Once again, Thank You Mr. Robinson

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zimmerman Verdict

I was shocked by the verdict. But the legal experts made the explanation quite simple, yet still troubling to me. "This was a self-defense case from the  very beginning," is the majority consensus among legal pundits.

Clearly there wasn't an ounce of critical thinking, morality, ethics or BALLS among the 6 female jurors. Reports have come out that 2 of the 6 wanted manslaughter and 1 of them wanted 2nd Degree Murder. The CNN interview with juror B37 proved most enlightening as to the thinking and decision making process of the jury. She described how she was 1 of the 3 whom had
made up their minds that Zimmerman was not guilty. The insight she gave to Anderson Cooper was flawed and biased. B37 contends, "George had no choice," and "Trayvon could have run away." She intimated to Cooper that she identified with Zimmerman and according to the law she had no choice but to find him not guilty.

My initial reaction to the verdict was shock. Then I thought back to the presidential election of 2000. Floridians tend to be either stupid or corrupt. Either way, the majority of them don't really contribute to the human race. To the point, the 6 jurors chose to follow the letter of the law, rather than exercise a miniscule bit of human judgment or common sense to the crime that was committed.

It's common knowledge The Law is written in such a way that innocence is always presumed and guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The Language used in Law Books and Statutes is so extensive and verbose it literally requires an extra 4 years of graduate study to master. To the layman and to the jurors, the law is the law. They didn't use any logic or analysis. They didn't read between the lines of the Law, or balance their interpretation of the Law with real world experience. No critical thinking or empathy toward the victim, only the law the law the law verbatim. They took the easy way out. The 3 jurors who believed Zimmerman was guilty of something had the right instincts, but didn't have the gravitas or moxie to illustrate their point to the other 3.

I wouldn't have left that court without Zimmerman being charged with something, but the 3 jurors whom believed pre-verdict Zimmerman was guilty were much too gullible. They compromised. Ethics. Morals. Values. Common Sense. Justice. Human Decency. Ultimately, none of these things we hold most dearly meant anything to those 6 individuals I hesitate to call people.
I wasn't there. I didn't experience what they did. But I know George Zimmerman killed a boy that was not a criminal. He killed a boy who was walking home. He followed a boy with a hooded sweatshirt whom he believed was a criminal. Zimmerman profiled Trayvon as a police officer would, but Zimmerman had no authority or right to do so. George put Trayvon and himself in a vulnerable state and he pulled the trigger. He didn't say OK stop. Ok I'll leave you alone. Wait, please wait I don't want to hurt you. He didn't communicate. He shot. Zimmerman's paranoia & recklessness cost a boy his life. You don't need a Law book to see the guilt in that.

Monday, July 15, 2013

American Ninja Warrior

Ninja Warrior.  Mt Midoriyama.  If you've seen the course, you know the obstacles. The Quad-Steps, The Salmon Ladder, The Warped Wall, The Ultimate Cliff Hanger, and the list goes on of treacherous man-engineered structures built only to frustrate and beguile mortal beings. I've set a course to reach these places. My training is rigorous and specific. I don't lift to get big, I lift to get stronger. I don't run to get faster, I run to be more explosive. My pull ups are not for show, they are for the ropes and ledges I must climb.

Stage 1 is like a basic test of all around athleticism. Right out of the gate your agility is tested in the Quad Steps. Parkour guys like to show off and do them
with a one-legged jump for each step.  It's been proven a dangerous proposition as many great athletes have stumbled & failed the first obstacle by rushing and
jumping recklessly.  Rope Swings, Jump Hangs and Rolling Logs test balance, grip strength and overall conditioning. The stage wraps up with the competitor-
dreaded Warped Wall, which eliminates all female and vertically challenged athletes with its 14 foot height.


Stage 2 separates the men from the boys with the Salmon Ladder & Unstable Bridge, back-to-back, testing the limits of upper body strength and endurance. Then just for fun, they throw in an inclined Metal Spin for everyone lacking in balance & coordination.  All the push ups and pull ups in the world won't prepare you for navigating a good, old-fashioned spinning aparatus that you have to stand on while it accelerates down an incline (Calling all Log-Rolling competitors!).

Stage 3 is a freakazoid of walls and chains only a 150-pound, free climbing muscle hamster can annihilate. Japanese course designers engineered this stage with their own countrymen in mind. Obstacles like the Cliff Hanger, Arm Rings, Rumbling Dice, Vertical Limit and Hang Climbing were implemented to promote a competitor of small stature with superior quickness and great strength. Americans being of larger stature and heavier weights never completed this stage.

The Final Stage has evolved from a 49 ft rope climb to a mixed Ladder/Rope climb to the current behemoth 79 foot rope climb, with only 30 seconds to reach the summit.

An American has yet to even reach the final stage, but with the increased exposure and mainstream movement to network tv, more people than ever are
becoming familiar with the show and the competition. For the millions who've failed at becoming professional athletes, American Ninja Warrior is another
avenue to achieving success in professional athletics. The Obstacles don't necessarily require pinnacle hand eye coordination, but more basic strengths and agilities that regular joe's can acquire with training. As a personal trainer who once dreamt of playing professional baseball, the skills & disciplines required for Ninja Warrior are a welcome challenge. I will relish the opportunity to compete in 2014 if American Ninja Warrior comes back to Baltimore for the Qualifiers. And I'm kicking myself this year for not following the Qualifier Dates posted on G4.com. Next Year Baby!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

George Zimmerman Trial

The case of Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman is tragic in every sense of the word. A boy was killed. The man who killed the boy will be subjected to scrutiny
for the rest of his life. Trayvon Martin will not get to live his life and his family must go on living without their beloved son. George Zimmerman's life will never be normal again, but he still has the opportunity to live and make something of himself, where Trayvon does not. All parties involved have had their lives turned upside-down in this case of wrongful death and public outrage due to the racial undertones and media outcrying for justice.


After following the case and evaluating the evidence presented to the public, clearly George Zimmerman must be punished. The question is how much?
Zimmerman acted in an irresponsible manner that contributed to the death of Trayvon Martin. As a neighborhood watchman, he was performing a civic duty by keeping a close eye on the streets and houses in his area. But Zimmerman crossed the line when he followed and stalked Trayvon Martin throughout the Sanford, Flordia community. Zimmerman followed Martin in his car, dialed the non-emergency dispatch to inform them what he was doing, then proceeded to get out of his car to continue following Martin into the yards of the housing. Zimmerman disregarded the order from the Dispatcher to "stop following the person," and that the proper authorities were on the way to investigate further.


The Defense for Zimmerman is this: He was attacked, beaten up and acted in self defense to save his own life. Pretty thin. But then again the evidence has shown Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman during the confrontation. Evidence has shown the injuries Zimmerman suffered during the fight. Eyewitness accounts during the trial have proven to a great extent that though Zimmerman was following Martin, it was Trayvon whom engaged Zimmerman physically.

It appears the Defense has proven Reasonable Doubt to the charge of 2nd Degree Murder. Police interviews and Investigative experts have ripped this case apart to prove Zimmerman did not act with mal-intent. The Evidence has shown this is a case of a decent citizen overstepping his boundaries to assist in the protection of his neighborhood. However, the actions of George Zimmerman, while not malicious according to evidence, were still unlawful. He should not have been following Trayvon Martin. He should have stopped his pursuit exactly when he was instructed to do so by the Dispatcher. Had Zimmerman listened to the directions of the Law Enforcement Dispatch, Martin would still be alive and that is where George Zimmerman must reap what he has sown.

If I were on this jury, my decision would be George Zimmerman is Guilty of Manslaughter and must serve 5 to 10 years incarceration. Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he put them both in vulnerable positions. If someone is following you, you are immediately put into a state of mind of self preservation and protection. Trayvon, according to evidence, acted in a way that most people would deem perfectly reasonable to protect himself. Zimmerman, according to evidence, believed he was following a criminal so I wouldn't be surprised if the Court's punishment is even more severe than 5 to 10 years. 

It's a horrible tragegy and my heart goes out to the Martin family. Hopefully people can learn from this to let Law Enforcement do their jobs. It's not a bad thing to be a Neighborhood Watchperson, but you must know where to draw the line. And carrying a firearm in public is always a dangerous proposition when one looks to be an aggressor in pursuits & confrontations.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thank You Jesus!!!!

I've never been especially fond of Ray Allen.  I don't hate him, but I've always looked at his basketball game as highly overrated.  Hands down he's one of the
greatest shooters ever, but the rest of his game is quite pedestrian to be frank.  He's got no handle, isn't a good passer, and can't impact the game positively
unless his shot is falling.  However, since Allen found a niche as a role player for Doc Rivers' Celtics, he's become a great team player with a skill that never erodes with time; that pretty jump-shot.

 
Lebron's quote after winning Championship #2 was cool, "You need a little bit of luck to win an NBA Championship, and that's exactly what we had... and we got Jesus on our side," consciously referring to Ray Allen's character Jesus Shuttlesworth from the 1998 film HE GOT GAME (& subconsciously referring to Jesus Christ himself because Game 6 took a miracle).  Ray Allen came to the Miami Heat to do precisely what he did in game 6; make shots in the clutch.  Not the player he once was when he averaged over 20 points per game with Milwaukee & Seattle, Ray prolonged his career by focusing on his shot and playing good team defense.  A career 40% shooter from beyond the arc, Allen has accumulated 23,804pts and 2 NBA Championship Rings in the League.

I give Allen much respect for going against the popular route of staying with the team and city that loved him most, Boston, and not settling for a quiet, happy ending.  He chose to go where the spotlight is brightest in Miami, where he would be scrutinized most and helped deliver another Title.  Ray Allen is 1st class and definitely has the prettiest jumper in League History.  His stroke is so pure and fundamentally sound, it should be captured in a painting and displayed in the Louvre.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Fab 5

The squad that redefined college hoops and brought the Hood to march madness.  They met in high school and constructed a plan to take over college basketball.  Jimmy King, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Ray Jackson all started at Michigan University as freshman and sophomores reaching the championship game 2 years in a row.  Pretty soon the black socks, baggy shorts and Nike Flights donned by the Michigan Fab 5 were copied by every team from elementary school gyms to the Madison Square Garden arenas of America.  The Fab 5 all played professional ball and to this day are revered by basketball aficionados for their cultural influence and sheer bravado (photo via sports illustrated, AP).

Chris Webber was the Force & the Fire of the team.  He averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds his sophomore year before being selected 1st overall in the 1993 NBA Draft.  Webber duplicated his college numbers over a 15 year career in the League averaging 20pts, 10rebs, 4ast, 1.4blks & 1.4stls.  Though his teams never won a championship, they came close several times with Webber being the main cog.  His case for the Hall is strong, but not definitive. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bonds vs Griffey

 
If you ever take a peek at the back of a Barry Bonds baseball card or a statistical read-out of his numbers at baseball-reference.com, you'll see a lot of dark numbers.  The dark numbers signify league leading stats, meaning the player was tops in the American or in Barry's case, the National League.  Bonds has a great, many dark numbers on his card.  The numbers get especially BOLD as Barry ages into his mid to late thirties.

I've imagined what Bonds' career would've looked like had he chosen not to cheat the game and himself.  Everyone always says how he was a first ballot Hall of Famer even before steroids, HGH or whatever horse-bulking chemicals he was on.  Which is a fact.  Bonds was a great ball player way before he became jealous of McGwire & Sosa.  He won 8 Gold Gloves and 3 MVP awards before his ego could no longer handle the idea of finishing a HOF career in the background.  Fact was, Barry knew he was better than those guys getting all the attention for the HRs, but an ego as massive as his needs everyone to know it.

Ken Griffey Jr. was better than Barry Bonds from 1989 to 2000.  Now the Number Lovers & Stat Boys of today will argue Bonds was the better player because of his on-base%, which I agree, Bonds was always more apt to take pitches and draw walks than Jr was.  But getting on base does not make you a better ball player.  All those walks never won Barry's teams any titles and never endeared him more to teammates, whom probably would've rather seen Bonds fail than their team win, sad to say (Have you ever heard a teammate come to his defense?).  Safe to assume Pittsburgh Bonds was different than San Fran Bonds, attitude wise at the very least.  But even then, early 90s Barry was still a hot dog, just not as flamboyant & selfish.

12 years into Ken Griffey Jr's career, from 1989 to 2000, he was a .295 hitter with 438 HRs, 1270 RBIs, 10 Gold Gloves, 173 SB and 1 MVP Award.  12 years into Barry Bonds' career, from 1986 to 1997, he was a .288 hitter with 374 HRs, 1094 RBIs, 8 Gold Gloves, 417 SB and 3 MVP Awards.  By the numbers & by the eye test, Jr was the better ball player for those first 12 years.  The next 10 years, however for both players cannot be discounted even if you negate Performance Enhancing Drugs from Bonds.  While Barry clearly would not have attained 700 HRs, the unGodly Slugging percentages, batting statistics and additional MVP awards, you can't assume he would have broken down physically the way Griffey did.  Therefore for their overall careers, even if it pains me to admit it, Barry Bonds was the better ball player.  Griffey's physical breakdown was so apparent, you didn't even have to check his numbers to notice the decline.  The Kid who wowed fans across the world in Seattle was a shell of his old self in Cincinnati.  Guess what?  That's what happens when you get older.  Your physical skills decline naturally.

The Bottom Line is Barry Bonds took Performance Enhancing Drugs to go from being a top 30 All-Time player to a top 5 player. Aside from 1993, no one ever
viewed Barry Bonds as the best player in the game before the steroid years.  I still hear baseball analysts talk about Bonds as if those final 10 years of his career were legit.  Amazing how a lifetime .288 hitter can turn 35 years old, then in the next 5 seasons hit .306 with 49 HRs, .328 with 73 HRs, .370 with 46 HRs, .341 with 45 HRs and .362 with 45 HRs into his 40s.  Bonds enhanced his skills with illegal substances that'd make average Joe's like you and I into respectable athletes.  But when a great athlete like Bonds takes them, he goes from great to one of the greatest of all time.


Like I said before in a previous post http://uvmemory.blogspot.com/2013/01/gotta-love-kid.html if Griffey went dirty he'd have hit over 800 HRs, but Jr is not an ego maniac and he has integrity.  And ask anyone in Baseball who they'd rather have as a teammate, Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Jr.  9 out of 10 if not %100 will say Jr. 

As far as I'm concerned Hank Aaron is still the All Time Home Run King and Roger Maris is still the single season leader.  Bonds' numbers are meaningless.  The Hall of Fame will document the 90s and 2000s accordingly and will put them in the proper historical perspective.  Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds should have paper plaques in the Hall of Fame, rather than bronze.